With Reece James having played through the pain barrier in the most recent game and with that effort coming at a cost, Frank Lampard has praised the player’s commitment and outlined what must be a long-term goal for him to be on the pitch more frequently.

Selected to start at right wing-back against Real Madrid, James played the whole of our Champions League quarter-final match at Stamford Bridge. Having suffered a hamstring injury during the game, he played on as the Blues attempted to turn around a deficit from the first leg and as Lampard revealed yesterday, he is now ruled out for the rest of the season.

Adding to that fitness update, Lampard has confirmed his appreciation for the sacrifice James made as he did his best to keep Chelsea in the competition.

‘It's important that players are prepared to go that extra mile,’ said our caretaker manager.

‘Knowing him as a lad I'm not surprised. I think Reece was also possibly the best player on the pitch with a dodgy hamstring so it goes to show his level as a player.

‘With Reece, we have to find a way that we can get all that capacity he's got and get more constant with his availability at times, because he's such a top player. Mason is the same, he has been playing through [an injury] because he wants to contribute to the club and players who really want to contribute to Chelsea are what it's all about.

‘If you don't have that type of desire then you can't be a top player for Chelsea. So those two are the epitome of that.

‘I don't think it's about loving Chelsea necessarily,’ Lampard clarified. ‘It's about having a pride in what you do and loving playing football, and understanding that it takes real motivation and desire and the basics before you even get to the finer details. It should be a prerequisite for players playing in a team when you want to be a top team in the Premier League.’

James has not had good fortune with injury the past couple of seasons but Lampard argues against suggestions there is something fundamental that is a concern for the 23-year-old’s future.

‘Sometimes there's an element of misfortune, or having to play every three days with a lot of exertion on your bodies for the young lads sometimes can be a bit taxing, but I don't think it's a problem.

‘Because you understand absolutely what Reece gives this team both offensively and defensively, your eyes are drawn to the fact when he's not there. So we want to get him as fit as he can be regularly because he is a top player.’